Friday, 10 July 2009


Whilst I’m on the subject of the English Language…. Am I the only person who spots incorrect spelling and grammar everywhere? From menus on boards outside restaurants to job adverts in the window of a temping agency. I don’t mean using text spelling (which is a subject for a Blog in itself!) or even American spelling, but simple English spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. The words ‘there’ and ‘their’ are constantly mixed up, (the writers need to know that a spell checker is not infallable!) and apostrophes are seldom used correctly. Even the wonderful BBC website has spelling errors.
Every book I read seems to have mistakes.- and they seem to jump out at me! Have publishers got rid of proof readers in order to save money? Is there such a profession as a Proof Reader any more? Judging from personal reading experience, I think not.
When spelling is no longer a separate subject taught in schools and phonetics is how children learn to read, it’s not surprising that young people cannot spell. A surprising number of trainee doctors I know write spinal chord in patient notes and on request forms - go check and see if you’ve got any musical notes hidden in your body!
So an ‘old biddy’ like me who had weekly spelling tests at school and can still remember being mortified at getting one word wrong (I always scored 10 out of 10 but on one occasion spelt 'usually' with a ‘y’ at the beginning - I was 8 at the time!), always finds it irritating to read incorrect English. So what? We can all laugh at literal translations from Chinese perhaps which are often hilarious. Or we can use a translation website and make a howling mistake. What does it matter if it’s wrong?
Actually not only is it irritating but it can be bad for business! Today I saw a verse on a new set of rubber stamps which had a word missing from the poem which I happened to learn at school. Again the mistake jumped out at me straight away! It made me sad to see it. It ruined a lovely set of seaside stamps and a lovely poem. Had no-one proof read their work before it went to print? The manufacturer is going to get so many e-mails from people my age pointing out their error, they will soon regret it!
And, no, I haven’t e-mailed to tell them, and I won’t be buying the stamp set either!

(See the correct verse on the photo above)

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